My Farewell to PerformancePoint Planning

Seventeen months after PerformancePoint Server was made available to the general public (September 2007), Microsoft has announced today (January 23, 2009) that they are discontinuing the Planning module.  The Monitoring & Analytics module will be moved to Office 14 SharePoint.  Planning will receive one more update with a Service Pack 3 release in mid-2009 and will be supported for existing customers. 

Official Microsoft Video Announcement from Guy Weismantel
http://download.microsoft.com/download/A/E/E/AEEE26CB-1536-4EC9-809E-536F6E49A1BB/Guy_Weismantel_BI_Announcement_MBR.wmv

http://blogs.msdn.com/bi/archive/2009/01/23/microsoft-bi-strategy-update.aspx

On a personal note, I am truly disappointed as I have invested a great deal of time learning the Planning module.  I learned of this announcement yesterday and I spent last night reflecting over my experiences with the help of a few beers.  I have been working with the software since May 2007, four months prior to the release date.  I dove in head first and have read nearly four PerformancePoint books.  I received my PerformancePoint certification in June 2008.  I had recently begun writing a white paper on PPS Planning Data Integration using SQL Server Integration Services.  As I reflect over the past two years of my career, I remind myself that it’s not all for naught.  I’ve learned a great deal about Business Performance Management and Business Intelligence that will still apply to my career.  Through this blog, I have met some terrific people across the globe who shared the same passion and aspirations around PerformancePoint.  And for that, I am very thankful.  For those of you silent readers, I hope you have found my postings useful.  My blog will live on.  I haven’t determined the format yet, but it will surely focus on other areas of Business Intelligence and wherever my work and life experiences may take me.  You haven’t heard the last from me.

Friends and curious readers, I raise my glass, and offer a toast to new beginnings. 

I will conclude with a quote from the last line in the movie, Gladiator, as I say my farewell to Planning:

“And now we are free.  I will see you again… but not yet… Not yet!”

 

Update January 26, 2009:

Here are a couple links to published articles on the rise and fall of PerformancePoint Planning.

http://www.olapreport.com/Comment_Bizdemise.htm
http://www.intelligententerprise.com/blog/archives/2009/01/microsofts_big_1.html

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Running the Microsoft All Up BI 7.1 VPC on an external hard drive

Yesterday I decided to check out a VPC (Virtual Personal Computer) image that Microsoft offers as a free download.  I found links to the Microsoft All Up BI VPC 7.1 on Russell Christopher’s blog. 

http://performancepointblog.com/2008/12/all-up-bi-vpc-71-available-for-public-download/

This VPC contains everything you would ever want related to Microsoft BI.  SQL Server 2005, PerformancePoint, SharePoint, ProClarity, Office 2007, etc.  Hmm, I wonder when they’ll create an updated VPC with SQL Server 2008…

Anyway, I haven’t had much time to play around with it yet, but I did want to share a minor obstacle I had to overcome to get the VPC running.  I wanted to copy all the VPC files to my Western Digital My Passport 250 GB external hard drive.  However, I kept receiving an error that the drive was out of space.  This left me scratching my head because I could see I had over 230 GB of free space.  After some discussion with a co-worker, we decided I needed to reformat the external hard drive.  It comes out of the package formatted using FAT32.  FAT32 can only handle up to a 4 GB file.  That’s why I was receiving an out of space error.  So, I copied the contents of my external hard drive to my laptop (which is running Windows XP), and then opened up Computer Management by right clicking on “My Computer” and selecting “Manage”.  From here you can find “Disk Management” under “Storage”.  Select the correct drive for your external hard drive and format using NTFS.  I didn’t time how long it took, but it sure seemed like about an hour or so.  Once complete, my hard drive could store the VPC.  From that point, it wasn’t long before I was up and running.  Now I just need to figure out how I’m going to snag some more RAM for my laptop, because 2 GB of RAM is simply not enough!  I found some tips on a blog for speeding up the All Up VPC version 6, but I haven’t tried them out yet.  Another task for another day.  http://performancepointing.blogspot.com/2008/07/speeding-up-all-up-bi-vpc.html

By the way, older operating systems won’t be compatible with NTFS.  From what I’ve read, it sounds like Windows 95/98/Me won’t recognize NTFS.  So, if you’re running an older operating system, be sure to do your homework prior to reformating your external hard drive.

– ez